Why hello, readers and listeners! Instead of being at night, the open mic today was during the afternoon! It was a different feel, but just as cool! Sign-up was at around 1pm, and then it started at around 1:30. What was cool, was that, with the exception of about one or two people, the SAME group of guys showed up, that had been at every other open mic! It really cool being able to make some friends up here. But yeah, the open mic was so chill. There weren't a lot of people there, but it was at a place called The Bitter End, and the management (the owner, in particular) was amazing. Everybody was personable, and everybody was genuinely kind. Instead of a raised floor that was in the corner of a bar, the stage at The Bitter End was an actual stage! It had a baby grand piano (which means for once I did not have to lug my 5 foot tall, 40lbs keyboard through New York City), and it also had a guitar if anyone needed to use either instrument. Also, the crowd was pretty responsive.
So! I'm trying something new. If you know me, at all, you know that I am forgetful. Over the past couple of days, I have met some really amazing people, with some really unique sounds, and these people also have some really amazing stories. My goal is document the people that I have not only befriended, but people who have impacted my trip, let alone my outlook.
The first person I'm going to start with, is Moha.
Moha is one amazing dude. He's genuine, he's down to earth, and when talking to people, he really connects with them. He is Senegalese (which means that he is from a country in West Africa), but he just moved to New York from Paris, France. This afternoon, at the open mic, I sat down with Moha. I asked him, "Why do you like music?" After asking that question, I had not realized that I was opening a pretty big box (A very insightful one, nonetheless).
Here was his response : "I mean, music is cool, and I like it, but it doesn't control me. A lot of people put all of this work into their music, and get so serious about it, but to me, it's just truth. Music is just another way to tell your story, or tell your truth. When I go up and play the audience an original song that I have written, it would be no different than me sitting down with each of them, one on one, and simply telling them the same thing in words. You know? It's just a means that you can tell your truth with. And I've realized that you can do that with anything. Say that I wanted to be a doctor. As a doctor, I could do this exact same thing. I could connect with my patients, and I could tell them deep things about me. Just like if I were to tell that same truth to an audience, through song. I could put that exact same love and passion into saving someone's life. It's not about "getting big" or "being a superstar" . . . people do this because they are passionate about it. And what I'm saying, is that you can put that passion into so many other things along with music. If you think about it, everybody can sing. Seriously. If you take the lessons, and you put in the effort, and you commit yourself, anybody can do it. [He points to the stage] With a good amount of hard work, anybody can be up there performing. And what would they be performing? I, would be performing an original song. And again, I can tell people the same exact thing, that I'm saying through song, sitting down, like I am with you. For a living, I perform my original music. With no side-jobs, I support myself playing music around the City for a living. And . . . I don't like it. Sometimes I wish I could stop. I wish this, because I believe that there is so much unnecessary hype associated with it. Many years ago, Paris Hilton released a song. It wasn't half bad, but everybody hated it because, well, it was Paris Hilton. Now imagine. If Rihanna had released that exact same song, it would be number one. Why? Because it's popularity. I know that there are people who are genuinely passionate about their art [he points to all of us performers], but still. I don't want to be caught up in some big popularity contest, when all I'm doing is telling my truth. If I ever saw my face on a billboard, or if I ever started to get "big," I would stop. I would stop right then and there. You know why? It's not worth it. I could tell my truth so many different ways. There are so many things that God offers us in this life, and I want to try a lot of things. For me, it goes God, family, and then music. Yeah to be honest . . . music isn't that important to me. Sure I enjoy performing at these and everything, but I don't want it to be what controls me. It's just another way to tell who you are, or spread your truth."
Here is Moha performing an original: